Bayern Munich star Thomas Müller is relishing the challenge to come from his former coach Pep Guardiola and ex-Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City.
On Tuesday Bayern face the English Premier League champions in the first leg before hosting the return match in Munich on 19 April.
Müller won three of his 11 Bundesliga titles when Guardiola was head coach of Bayern between 2013 and 2016. The Germany attacker knows how hard it can be to take on a side led by the Catalan, but he feels the current Bundesliga leaders can rise to the occasion.
"I was waiting for this for a long time but I also wasn't at the same time because I played in his teams for three years and I didn't get the impression that the opposing teams were very happy to play against Pep teams," Müller told bundesliga.com.
Watch: Müller has a record 11 Bundesliga titles
"You can be successful and you can beat everybody, and Man City has very good players, but the style of Pep's teams means a lot of running for the opposing team… I think there are maybe teams who are more fun to play against.
"However, we have been very sharp and very good in our performances and results in these kinds of games this season - so we are confident. We played City in pre-season, so we all know that when City is on a good run, it means that you have to suffer for maybe more than five minutes during the game."
Müller has already won the Champions League twice as a Bayern player - in the 2012/13 and 2019/20 campaigns - which is the one title Guardiola missed out on during his time in Munich. Together the pair won seven trophies, and Bayern's iconic No. 25 revealed that the current Manchester City boss altered the way he sees the game.
"For sure,” the 33-year-old said. "You are influenced by these guys around you every day and Pep is a strong influencer.
Watch: Guardiola enjoyed winning the Bundesliga in 2016
"He shows you a lot, and I was always open-minded and tried to pick out what was helping me or what was helping the team. He taught me the kind of positioning and the kind of preparation of an attack, and the most important thing in my mind was the discipline. The discipline of his teams was better than in any teams I have played in.
"I don't mean the discipline of being on time, which is also an important aspect, but the discipline on the pitch of the movements and of the defenders and of the whole team on the ball and off the ball. When you look at our records, I think we hardly conceded 20 goals a season with Pep - and that's remarkable."
Bayern have already been crowned European champions six times, but to win the Champions League this season they will have to get the better of an old foe. Norwegian sensation Haaland scored 86 goals in 89 matches across all competitions while playing for Dortmund between January 2020 and May 2022. The 22-year-old has been devastating in his first season with City as well, netting 44 times in 38 games for his new club.
Watch: All 62 of Haaland's Bundesliga goals
Although he lifted the DFB Cup with Dortmund in 2020/21 though, Haaland has lost all seven competitive matches he has played against Bayern.
"He's an unbelievable striker, but in a team like Dortmund he had no chance against us in the last years," Müller explained.
"It's a funny story because we lost 1-0 against City in pre-season and we spoke for a few seconds after the game and he said he had finally beaten us!"
Müller will hope that normal service is resumed this month. Bayern have won all eight of their Champions League matches this season, and their recently appointed coach Thomas Tuchel famously got one over Guardiola and City when he was in charge of Chelsea for the 2020/21 final.
The German champions have also come out on top in their last four games against Premier League opposition, and Müller will hope to reach an impressive personal milestone on Tuesday. The veteran is one success away from becoming only the third player - after Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas - to be on the winning side in 100 Champions League matches.
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